forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Thu Jan 21, 1999  5:20 pm
Subject:  History of SW Animation

On Tue, 19 Jan, Lauren (Rusty) Ultis-Joslyn wrote:
>I loved the animation signwriting! That it is even easier to understand and
>easy to learn that way! Valerie, do you have something like that in your
>website for lessons? I have some material that a friend of mine brought from
>you a while back. She lets me borrow it to look at it. Me and my friend,
>Francis (also one of your list members) looked over it.
>Caroline, keep up the good work! Makes me feel like a kid again! LOL :-)
>And Valerie, don't work yourself too hard!

January 21, 1999

Yes, I agree Rusty, that animating SignWriting is a wonderful educational
tool. And animation most definitely will teach SignWriting, especially to
Deaf children.

You should see the facial expressions animated in SignWriting - they are
absolutely precious!!

Using animated DanceWriting is where we began back in the 1970's. One of
our DanceWriting teachers, Monica Siegel, from New York City, was also a
film animator, and she took an entire notated dance (pages and pages of
DanceWriting), and animated it frame by frame on film. This first animation
was historic. We showed the film at a special presentation at the Boston
Conservatory of Music in 1978.

The six year old children learning DanceWriting were totally taken with it,
and their DanceWriting skills improved because of it, so I became convinced
that animating SignWriting would most likely be equally as beneficial for
teaching Deaf children to learn to read and write a signed language.

Then in 1979, I became a consultant at the National Technical Institute for
the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester, New York. There I had access to equipment,
and I created a brief animation of one sentence in SignWriting. It too was
on film, since personal computers did not exist at that time. It was
wonderful, but the film was lost or thrown out. The NTID film lab could not
find the film later. I was disappointed but of course it still gave me hope
for the future of animation.

Then, in 1996-1997, a professor of computer sciences in Porto Alegre,
Brazil, Antonio Carlos da Rocha Costa, started animating our SignWriting
icons for the first time in history. You can read more about Antonio
Carlos' work on these web pages:

SignWriting In Brazil

SignWriting In Brazil Internet Broadcast

Although work stopped for awhile on SignWriting animation in Brazil,
renewed interest has now been expressed in working with animation there.

And then Caroline Readman has bravely stepped in and animated some SW icons
on her new web site:

There is a lot of work behind animating SignWriting correctly, but when
each sign is done correctly it is an excellent tool for teaching. I look
forward to complete sentences animated in SignWriting. I think children's
understanding of their own native signed language will greatly increase,
and literacy levels will jump.

That is my prediction...

Valerie ':-)

Valerie Sutton at the DAC
Deaf Action Committee for SW


Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA

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